Dec. 13, 2015
ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– Kansas held the Navy women’s basketball team to seven second-half field goals and without a made field goal in overtime to rally for 61-54 victory Sunday afternoon at Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kan.
“A tough loss for us,” said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. “We just couldn’t hit shots down the stretch to win it. We executed well enough and had opportunities. I thought we handled their pressure with poise but we did have a couple big turnovers in the fourth quarter that didn’t help momentum. Their two guards made some big shots late. A disappointing loss for us, for sure.”
Navy (5-5) held a 43-27 lead following a Taylor Dunham (So., Fort Belvoir, Va.) jumper with 5:55 remaining in the third quarter. That would be the last made field goal by the Mids until Ashanti Kennedy (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) connected on a shot with 7:05 left in the fourth quarter. Kansas (5-4) had whittled the margin down to 45-39 by the end of the third quarter, and Kennedy’s field goal kept Navy in the lead by six points at 47-41.
The Mids remained in the lead until Kylee Kopatich tied the score on a layup for the Jayhawks with 46 seconds remaining. The ball bounced loose in the middle of the lane on Navy’s next possession. Peri Curtis (Sr., Coronado, Calif.) grabbed the ball in front of the rim but her shot bounced off the backboard and into the hands of the Jayhawks. Navy forced Kansas into a difficult shot on its next possession which missed its mark to send the game into overtime (Navy’s fifth of the year).
Navy was 0-3 from the field and 2-4 from the foul line in overtime while Kansas was 2-5 from the floor and 5-6 from the charity stripe.
Navy dominated play in the first half thanks in no small measure to Dunham, who was 6-9 from three-point land in scoring 20 points in the opening 20 minutes of play. Her efforts boosted the Mids to a 34-22 lead at the break.
“Kansas turned up their offensive effort (in the second half) and did a nice job capitalizing on their free throw opportunities,” said Pemper. “Taylor Dunham was such a hot shooter for us in the first half. We thought we’d need four players in double figures to win and weren’t able to do it. They were a little taller than us, a little more athletic, but that being said we had that shot in the middle of the lane at the end of regulation for a two-point lead.”
Kansas outshot Navy from the floor (38.6%-30.2%) in making 22 field goals to 19 for the Mids. Navy did connect on nine triples to four for Kansas, but the Jayhawks were 13-15 from the foul line while the Mids were 7-9.
Both teams committed 16 turnovers while Kansas had slim leads in both rebounds (42-40) and blocks (4-2). The taller Jawhawks scored 32 of their 61 points on baskets made in the paint and limited the Mids to just 20 such points.
“I felt we could have come out of here with a double digit win going in,” said Pemper. “Kansas made some changes to their starting lineup after a loss to UMKC but we came out strong and got that big lead. They then increased their effort defensively and chipped away. Our staff will continue to look at ways to play to our strengths. I believe in our team and I trust this loss will make us a little better.”
Dunham ended the game with 24 points, six rebounds and three assists, with Sarita Condie adding 10 points, seven boards and three steals.
Lauren Aldridge scored a Kansas-best 19 points.
Navy will take a break in its schedule for final exams, then will close out its non-league slate Dec. 21 by playing host to Air Force.